Original article on www.gonomad.com
1.Reims , France
Crack open a bottle of bubbly in this picturesque region of France.
One’s head seems held a bit higher when visiting Reims. I am not sure if it is because it is where most of France’s kings were crowned or if it is just majestic in its position as home to a lot of the best champagne houses. As often happens in France, treasures are found everywhere even off the beaten path; indeed I hope to share a few.
Chilean wine cultivation dates back to the 16th century with vines brought by the Spanish conquistadors. Over time French varieties and methods were introduced and heavily influenced wine production. The country is blessed with perfect conditions for growing grapes. Good soil, warm days and cool nights.
Wine is an opportunity to step into a culture that is civilized, big picture and by nature holistic. To produce great wine is to be aware of ecology, the passage of time, the particulars of the vines and the local environment.
3.Aquitane, Bordeaux France
You simply have to love a place where a top local chef advises wine with breakfast. Thierry Marx, a Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef, reported to the Aquitaine tourism magazine that one of his personal favorite restaurants in the region was Lion d’Or, in Arcins, where “the owner knows the estuary well and all the best fishing spots. You can bring your own bottle, and order the hearty breakfast.”
The Aquitaine region is ancient, with the first recorded mention of the name in Caesar’s “Commentaries on the Gallic War.” It was the Romans, in fact, who introduced the vine to Bordeaux around the first century, beginning more than two thousand years of a love affair with wine, food, and the “bon vivant” lifestyle that still predominates today.
California’s wine country is famous around the world for its fine wines Napa Valley and Sonoma are household names. For a more personal experience head to Healdsburg to experience a quiter side of the region where Names from your local wine shop jump out at you round every corner – Gallo of Sonoma, Kendall-Jackson, Ledson and Rodney Strong. Every junction has top-heavy signposts with the names of the wineries located in each direction. This isn’t how one imagines driving in California. This is polite and considerate countryside driving where the speed limit rarely exceeds 30 miles an hour.
5.Piedmont Region, Italy
Bordering France and Switzerland, the Piedmont region is known for fine wine – Barbaresco, Barolo and Barbera, for example – but until the Olympics this area was not so well-known to tourists, and is still a bit of a mystery. It’s time to change that.
The wine of the Piedmont region is world class – this is where the Nebiolo grape grows, giving the world the excellent Barolo and Barbaresco wines. And the white wines aren’t too shabby either!
Vinho Verde is the northwest’s regional wine. The literal translation means Green Wine, and its medium alcoholic content and fruity flavor make it the perfect companion for meals enjoyed along this route which runs from the Douro river all the way north to the Spanish border.
Ironically, those heading to Portugal’s vacation hot-spot by air are often required to land in the north, to allow a few visitors, with a knowing glint in their eyes, to disembark.
And why the twinkle? Soon those travelers will relish the savory cuisine, fresh air and meandering roads punctuated with chronicles of lore that can only be found in this corner of Portugal.
While Dubrovnik and the Dalmatia Coast are attracting attention worldwide, there is another side of Croatia that shouldn’t be missed. The Northern and Slavonia Regions are filled with castles, character and wine.
There are more than 300 defined wine regions in Croatia, many not reached by US connoisseurs. With a little help from the Croatian Angels it is heavenly! (Croatian Angels is a full service agency dedicated to helping tourists) If in doubt call while on route, they will rescue you!
*Image of vineyard in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy via Shutterstock